Mind-Body Speed Control



Our body and mind have a mutually exclusive relationship: the body is slow when the mind is fast, and vice versa. We move less when we think much, and we think less when we move much, except at times of full rest and full alert, as in sleep when both body and mind need to rest, and in dangerous situations when both need to be fully alerted.

There are five basic modes or speeds for the body and their equivalents for the mind, that, when mastered, give maximum control over one's thoughts and actions, speeding up the rhythm of life and steering it in the right direction. Those speeds are "still, slow, fast, tense and loose," that we can effortlessly reach and shift from one to the other by simple easy-to-learn control techniques.


Mind-Body Control

Most self-control techniques depend largely on the ability to efficiently use both body and mind, because we carry the same genes in the same bodies we've had for millennia, that we can neither change nor escape: we are not yet "walking brains" or light ethereal life-forms, or angels, fairies, ghosts ... mythologically speaking.

We vitally need both at the present stage of our evolution, as one completes the other. However, the mind is superior to the body, and the former is better qualified to control the latter. While the brain is evolving fast, more physical functions are slowly, unnoticeably passing into obsolescence, and their related organs into atrophy.

Self-control takes four forms:

  • control the body by the mind
  • control the mind by the body
  • control the body by the body
  • control the mind by the mind

We always use one form or the other of the above, alone or in combination:

  • Even in our most physically relaxed states we can still keep some control, instinctively, operated by the body.
  • And in our most mentally relaxed states we can also be in control, imaginatively, operated by the mind, recalling memories and following patterns we had followed before.

Some doubt the power of self-control believing it's an unnatural intrusion diminishing the joy of living and spoiling its simplicity, spontaneity and element of surprise. There is no need for such fears because self-control only completes pleasure: it is a medium, not an aim—our aim is maximum happiness. Self-control is not absolute either because there are different degrees of control, and many times life can be enjoyed with minimal or remote control, that doesn't interfere with or decrease pleasure.

"Full" self-control, however, is only needed at stressful or dangerous situations that we cannot leave for chance to control. Contrarily, there are times when we almost use no self-control at all, giving free rein to our desires and simply following our heart. Such times are better controlled in advance instead, by choosing to be at places, in times, and with people we already know or trust enough to give ourselves to. Otherwise, to live always without self-control is like driving a car without a gearshift or brakes.


Body Parts

For the body to be slow or fast, we use inner and outer organs: muscles, joints, heart, lungs, etc. To make it tense or loose, we use them in a slower rate and an inward direction.

Our vital inner organs can be controlled with practice, to speed up and slow down too: heart, lungs, alimentary tract, glands ... and brain. Although invisible, they are the primary cause of change in our mood, metabolism, movement, and well-being.

• Body tension and relaxation are both types of physical speed, directed inward, causing stress or relief, instead of outward speed which causes actual movement from place to place.

• Mind tension is achieved when the mind is in an argumentative mode, and loose when it is in an imaginative mode. (More on mind tension & mind relaxation.)

Both physical tension (inward speed) and physical swiftness (outward speed) are forms of body speed, having an opposite effect on the mind, because of the mind-body mutually exclusive relationship we mentioned. Thus, they cause the mind to slow down, inward and outward, i.e. slowly imagining and slowly arguing. The same with physical slowness and looseness, where either causes the mind to speed up.

Fast movement and tense organs naturally cause unnecessary stress and slow down higher brain functions, when used for a long time. Thus, they are in less contexts:

  • critical situations and physical activities requiring speed and tension;
  • sensual pleasures they arouse, if mental pleasures aren't available or pleasing enough.

Physical "lightness, slowness and stillness" should be favored by civilized people who want to enjoy a safe, happy and meaningful life, as all three modes stimulate the higher brain and improve its functions. The sight of a still or slow person (not necessarily old, disabled, depressed or apathetic) watching the tone of their voice and rhythm of their movement, lest it cause the slightest tension, shouldn't be surprising. Rather, they should have our respect. The lower brain had done its primary job, long ago, at earlier stages of evolution; but now, we only use it for basic physical needs—until further notice from technology, when we might do away with it altogether.



Any speed applies to the body as well as the mind independently, consecutively, or simultaneously together with other speeds, depending on circumstances:

  1. An example of simultaneous usage is having a conversation, where the vocal organs are fast, the rest of the body is mostly still, and the mind is on medium speed. On the other hand, in interactive reading, writing, problem-solving, etc., the mind is fast and the rest of the body is still, except for the eye, the weakest body muscle, doing its simple word-recognition job, and the fingers mechanically writing/typing.

  2. An example of consecutive usage is exercising. We take one body area at a time (arms, abdomen, legs, etc.) to get optimal benefit, without exhausting the whole body all at once; even in the so-called all-body exercises, we can't use all muscles simultaneously fast; rather, we slow down especially when shifting from one area to another, otherwise, injury occurs as in most fast "all-body" sports. An example of complete independent usage of mind (from body) would be meditation in a still (e.g. lotus) position.

  3. One cannot think of a better example of a completely mindless physical activity, independent of mind, than any of the well-known primitive instincts: eating, mating, fighting, and running for one's life, none of which needs much thinking (in fact, thinking would be foolish then).

Any body speed can be applied fully or partially, i.e. to a certain body part, or to the whole body. For example, sitting in an airplane, one can stretch their feet, arms and fingers, without leaving their seat (i.e. without moving their pelvis). The same applies to car-driving, except when you are the driver, not the passenger, more responsibility is put on your brain. (The problem with car-driving is one can never expect what could happen next—on the road, or to your own body or mind—even if you've been driving all your life.)

Any of the five speeds applies to brain functions too, independently, consecutively, or simultaneously with one another, depending on circumstances. We use our mind only to imagine or argue, slow and fast, or to give it a "still" break. There's a variation of when to use which, and the combinations between different modes of body and mind:

  1. In some stressful situations, e.g. an unexpected health problem, we quickly remember (a form of imagination) first-aids we had previously learned, then we slow down a bit, allowing the mind time to decide which aid the patient mostly needs, arguing by using more "spatial intelligence and body-mind coherence," than just the memory skills we had just used.

  2. In reading fiction, sympathizing with a friend, listening to someone's complaint, etc., we first use more imagining than arguing, to relate to and empathize with the person/character, before we start arguing, to solve a problem and come to a conclusion/moral, which we can finally repeat to memorize (to ourselves or the person we address), to be later implemented and transformed into physical action.

We need to master each speed, because self-control isn't an innate behavior. Other animals do know some of such speeds by nature. Their instinctive knowledge helps them enough to survive and satisfy their physical needs, but they cannot compete with humans in diversifying or refining their pleasures; and, with the simple brains they have, they cannot have a civilization.

We apply the different speeds according to our different pleasures and needs. There will always be one speed or another to use (of the 10 mentioned: 5 for the body & 5 for the mind), even when we are dead (still mind + still body). For the matter at hand, there's no need to consider the jumpy electrons in a still skeleton as a form of motion!

* * *

Body balance or harmony between its moving, still, tense and relaxed parts is one of the senses added by modern scientists to the traditional five ones. Without balance, we can neither move in the right direction, nor stay firm in place, when we need it: we'll act like a mass of meat and bones gone out of control. Even the most primitive organism has some instinctive sense of balance teaching it where/when/how to move. It's nature's roadmap, inner guidelines and laws, imprinted in our genes, that every creature follows.

Following a pattern of movements, postures and speeds, without making mistakes requires a keen sense of balance, more than just thinking, where thinking can actually be disruptive, doing more harm than good.

Physical balance is not one speed; it's a combination of many, working in harmony together:

  • An example of outward speed balance is running: the legs go faster than the arms, the latter being faster than the abdomen, which is faster than the head, that barely moves—taking into account that the right arm must move forward together with the left leg, then both stop (seemingly retracting), then the left arm moves forward with the right leg, then both stop ... etc. If such balance changes, even slightly, we lose control, getting unwanted movement, speed and "accidental" stillness.
  • An example of inward speed balance is talking: with the inhaled air, the abdomen and diaphragm tense up, then relax again with the exhaled air, simultaneously with the vocal cords tensing up and relaxing at opposite times.
  • An example of inward & outward speed balance together is eating: the jaws, tongue and velum have completely different roles, speeds and timing, each must follow accurately: chewing, stirring, swallowing, breathing ... otherwise accidents happen.


Mind-Body Speeds

1. Still         2. Slow         3. Fast         4. Tense         5. Relaxed